Hell to Heartland | KSTP.com

Farrah Fazal

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It is a place where only thorns grow and dreams slowly die.

Here is where generations of family have lived for more than 25 years with no claim to country, where they are dying from famine in a desert along Kenya's eastern border with Somalia. They live along what is considered a pathway for terrorists who strike both countries.

The families in Dadaab still cling to the frayed ties that bind them to their families and clans thousands of miles away in the heartland of the United States, a place called Minnesota where their relatives are growing deep roots to begin a new life for a freed generation that breathes air filled with hope instead of despair. To them, Minnesota is a promised land that offers rebirth despite the new political and immigration obstacles that now stand in their way.

One in five people living in Dadaab has a relative living in the Twin Cities. In an unprecedented trip by a Minnesota journalist, KSTP-TV investigative reporter Farrah Fazal traveled to Kenya and Somalia to tell the stories of families separated, of terrorists trying to gain ground, of a harsh famine stealing the lives of infants and children before they have a chance to make it from Hell to the Heartland.

In the coming weeks, Farrah will be filing stories following her journey that took her to Dadaab, and to a refugee camp in Kismayo in Somalia where the Minneapolis-based American Refugee Committee is trying to shelter people who are told by the Kenyan government to leave Dadaab. Farrah also traveled to Mogadishu, the Somali capital where Somali-Americans from Minnesota have returned to use their energy to rebuild their former country and raise a society out of the ashes following a brutal civil war.

Learn more about the Minneapolis-based American Refugee Committee here.

Dadaab - One out of five people in the world's largest refugee camp have relatives in Minnesota. View photos of Dadaab here.

Kismayo - A humanitarian agency helping the refugees coming from Dadaab is based in Minneapolis. American Refugee Committee is the only humanitarian agency in the world with a country office in Somalia. View photos of Kismayo here.

Mogadishu - The capital city of Somalia, where you'll see people wearing a Vikings shirt or cap and where dozens of Somalis in Minnesota are now going back to help rebuild a country considered the most corrupt in the world, and where terrorists are trying to own its streets.

Anfa and her mother

Hell to Heartland: For Anfa and Family, a Reunion 3 Years and a Lifetime in the Making

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